Even though a marriage starts with the best intentions, not every couple gets their happily ever after. Whether it's growing apart, a life-altering event that divides you, or just differences in opinion and can't seem to work it out in day to day life, divorce unfortunately is common in the United States.
The divorce rate among Americans over the last few decades hovers around a staggering 50% according to census data. Between 2006 and 2010 the probability of a first marriage lasting at least a decade was 68% for women and 70% for men.
With the large divorce rate, the living situation of our children can change drastically.
While we may have heard horror stories of broken families with kids being shuffled from one feuding parent's house to the other, it's not always the case.
This amazing story from a divorced mom who has found a positive way to deal with dad's new girlfriend will make you think differently about dating after divorce.
Brittney Johnson, a 27-year-old single mom from Columbia, Missouri didn't get the happy ending that she was hoping for. While her marriage to her husband may have ended, it wasn't without their sweet daughter Payton there to represent the years they were together.
Recently Brittney posted on her Facebook page giving a shout out to someone in her daughter's life, you wouldn't expect- daddy's new girlfriend Kayla.
She starts by asking the question anyone who co-parents their children may wonder themselves:
"To all of the mothers out there who throw a fit when another woman treats your child as her own: why isn't that exactly what you want?"
That was loaded for sure! But she is right.
While it's never easy to blend families, there's really no reason for use to hold a grudge or hard feelings if our kids are being treated right.
"I prayed one night for the type of woman my daughter's father would be with, knowing that she would be raised in two homes. Kayla has been a gift of so much more than I could have hoped for," Brittney wrote.
Kayla Imhoff is a nursing student at State Technical College of Missouri and has been a great example for Payton who sees her working hard towards her goal, but still leaving time for family. Brittney even goes as far to describe her as an "amazing bonus mom" to 4-year-old Payton.
"... I'm raising a strong girl, a smart girl and a sweet girl. And I want nothing more than for her to be surrounded with role models who are exactly that. Thank you Kayla for showing Payton how to chase her dreams, how to work hard and stay up late to study for a test. Thank you for still making time to ride her bike with her and make her mac and cheese even in one of the stressful times of your life," Brittney wrote.
Kayla even went as far to buy Payton a nurse's scrub costume so that they could match and role play together. This would make any mother proud seeing a strong female role model in their daughter's life.
"You're a true role model and an amazing bonus mom and we are so proud of you!"
Taking it full circle, Brittney hit it home in her closing statement.
"If you're co-parenting, and seeing your child doing things like this doesn't bring a smile to your face, reconsider what's truly best for your child. Payton has more people to love her this way, and what more could a mother ever want for her child? Being best friends with me AND being best friends with Kayla, is exactly where P deserves to be. It takes a village, and I happen to love mine."
Brittney and Kayla try to get together often and spend time with each other by going for lunch or to the park. While their friendship may not be ordinary, it has allowed the 3 of them to get close over the years.
"To everyone else, this doesn't seem normal. But it is our normal. We are so overwhelmed with the response and hope that it gives everyone a positive outlook on co-parenting because we truly love our normal!"
While it wasn't easy at first, when Payton met Kayla 2 years ago, one year after Brittney's ex, Charlie Swarzentruber and the woman started dating, they hit it off right away.
"Her and Payton hit it off immediately," Brittney recalled. "And at first I was a little intimidated. It was scary. I didn't know if Payton would like her more than me."
She continued, "But I could tell she was really dedicated to get to know Payton. There's been a few difficult conversations, but at the end of the day we are on the same team as Payton and want what's best for her."
Do you co-parent? What do you think of her point of view?